Sally was too late.
She had thought she'd be able to make it, if she ran fast enough – and she was fast. She'd always been. Even as a child, all those trophies from various races proudly out on display in her bedroom, hoping to attract attention from her father who favoured his older, athletic sons. It hadn't worked, but she had been fast.
But she was never faster than when she was running to help, or get help for a friend.
And Sherlock was a friend. At least, he had been.
She took the steps two at a time – she had to get to the roof!
They'd met in university, while she had been still deciding what to do with her life. He was handsome, in a sort of odd way. It was his mind that truly attracted her, but then, she'd always had a thing for men who were clever. Also men who ignored her, or who were off limits. At the time, Sherlock Holmes fit into both catagories. He ignored her as he ignored virtually everyone else, and he had a sort of air about him that made him unapproachable.
That didn't stop her from trying.
He hadn't taken to her at first, but she proved her worthiness to him by analyzing a crime scene photo he was looking at in a book. Even though he pointed out all the obvious details she had missed, she could tell he was impressed, even if he didn't want to tell her so. He started giving her an acknowledging nod when he saw her, and it eventually became a polite hello, and before either knew it, they were in constant communication. Well, as constant as communication with Sherlock Holmes could be.
She'd fancied him – yes, she, Sally Donovan, had fancied Sherlock Holmes, but she would take that secret to her grave.
Eventually she realized that he wouldn't ever be interested in her the way she wanted, and while naturally that revelation stung, they remained friends.
Eventually, she wasn't sure when exactly, a tension set in. It was probably after she'd recieved a warning from the University after sneaking a man who didn't attend into her room for the night. She had made the mistake of confiding in Sherlock. At first she saw his reaction as possible jealousy, but eventually realized that he was disappointed in her, as though he'd expected her to be above all "that nonsense."
Her breath stuck in her throat. The stairs seemed so endless.
The big falling out happened when one day he straight out accused her of always needing the attention of a man, be it her many tumultuous relationships or one night stands. He called her pathetic, and "just like everyone else."
She had vowed never to speak to him again, though she had called him many things in return.
She wasn't particularly pleased when life connected them again years later. It was after this that she began noticing just how strange he really was, or rather, caring how strange he really was. Reminding him of this fact always gave her a bit of satisfaction, and eased the sting of how he would always make her look like a fool at her job. He seemed to see through her sneers, and brushed them off or retaliated with something equally or more insulting, but his eyes still held the same disappointment in her that they'd held that night.
Just a few more steps...
She'd always meant to apologize one day – after all, the fight had been well over ten years ago, and as much as she hated to admit it, he had been at least partly right – but every time she worked up the humility and courage to, he would say something downright arrogant and infuriating, and she would decide that he didn't deserve it. It was a vicious cycle, but she'd always figured that one day, they would make peace and at least be civil to one another.
She reached the rooftop, breathless, in time to see two figures topple over the edge.
Sally was too late.